12th November 1988
It's that man Hobson again!
Lincoln City 2, Exeter 0
Report by NEIL CUSTIS
WHAT A difference a week makes. Seven places, six points and a renewed confidence in a re-shaped Lincoln City side. Add to this a goalscorer who has retained his lethal touch and the ingredients are there for new assault on the higher reaches of the Fourth Division. Gordon Hobson struck twice to net five goals in a week and new takes his tally to nine league goals this season, 11 in all. But as manager Colin Murphy pointed out after the game: "It is a team effort and if one player scores it means the opportunity must have been created by others."
It is the restructuring of the side which seems to have done the trick with a memorable 4-1 away win at Burnley and a convincing display against Exeter. Murphy has now put Phil Brown in behind the two front men of Hobson and Mark Sertori and his lay-offs and supply to the target men stood out on Satur- day. In midfield, Shane Nicholson and home debutant John Schofield have added an extra dimension creating a stronger presence in that area and Schofield in particular showed he had shaken of his first game nerves at Burnley to produce a fine display. The back line is certainly looking more confident despite the absence of skipper Trevor Matthewson and Tony James' inclusion proved to be no mistake. In all, it looks good and with John McGinley on the bench and set to step into action, supporters can feel confident about the future. One still has to question, however, what might have happened with the exclusion of Hobson around whom a large percentage of the plays are built. His finishing this past week has been, in Murphy's own words 'penal' and the home crowd should really have seen a hat-trick. He said before the game that he wanted to show the home fans what he could do and be proceeded to do so. His first chance came in the fifth minute when Clive Evans, showing a new found confidence in the skipper's role, put him thorough but Mel Gwinnett came to rescue not for the first time that afternoon. But there was no mistake about his opener when in injury time in the first half he caught a good deep ball from Brown first time to give Gwinett no chance. Either side of his goal, however, Exeter had had their chances. In the 38th minute Steve Neville fed Mark Jones whose cross evaded Mark Wallington and Darren Rowbotham was left with a gaping goal which he proceeded to miss firing high over the bar. Five minutes into the second half, Chris Banks cleared the City back line with a perfect ball to Lee Taylor who somehow found the side netting from an angle three yards out. As Lincoln themselves learnt against Carlisle you can't afford to miss such chances. Hobson certainly didn't miss his in the 84th minute when Lee Rogers' back pass fell into his path and be calmly placed the ball into the far corner. His chance for a rare double hat-trick in a week came minutes later when first Nicholson found Brown who in turn presented Hobson with an easier chance than he had just buried but the ball went wide of the post. Prior to both goals Exeter's assistant manager Neville was given his marching orders for kicking Darren Davis only three minutes after being booked for dissent. To add to the visitors tale of woe Rowbotham, Jones and substitute Tommy Langley were all shown the yellow card. Referee Danson also booked Schofield in the 10th minute but that was to prove the only blot on a fine game for the talented midfielder who could prove to be an inspirational find.
Wallington (6), Evans (7), Nicholson (6), Schofield (7), Bressington (6), James (6), Davis (6), Clarke (6), Hobson (8). Brown (8), Sertori (7). Res: Gamble, McGiney.
Gwinnett (8), Banks (5). Jones (6). Rogers (5). Taylor (6). Withy (7). (Langley (63) 5), Rowbotham (6), Hiley (6). Battey (5). Neville (4). Harrower (5), Res: Viney.
Referee: Paul Danson.